TOP DOG/BOTTOM DOG: Coming to Grips with Power at Home, at Work, and in the Sexual Arena by Robert Karen

TOP DOG/BOTTOM DOG: Coming to Grips with Power at Home, at Work, and in the Sexual Arena

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Power and how to equalize it: a self-help manual with a fictional twist, by a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. Karen, co-author of When The Shooting Stops and contributing editor to Cosmopolitan, takes the self. help routine a step further here. Presenting scenarios involving fictional characters, he dissects and recommends alternative actions. Acknowledging that the winning vs. losing struggle exists in daily interactions, Karen does not offer a simplistic formula. Instead, he recognizes the need for an antidote to address both ""competitive and humanistic"" concerns. His objective is to teach people to tune into how power operates and how to balance it, thus achieving the opposite of winning vs. losing: mutual respect. Karen focuses on the uses and abuses of four types of power: strategic (indirect influence that manipulates), personal (straight talk about thoughts and feelings), creative (ability to induce a fundamental change by bringing the other around in a cooperative and equal effort), and intimacy (sharing of hidden selves). The hidden chemistry of the winning vs. losing struggle is described as a resolution by ""who caves in from an intolerable assault of shame, and who is able, through between, the-lines exertions of power, to hide or suppress his own self. doubts while inflaming those of his opponent."" Nothing vitally new here, but an interesting version of how to topple the top dogs in a dog-eat-dog world.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1987
Publisher: Donald Fine